Everyone on Earth loves moon…With its mystic aura and enticing beauty, the moon has always captured the attention and imagination of scientists.
Being the closest celestial body to Earth, the moon continues to hold plenty of interesting secrets. This led to the creation of Apollo 11, the first manned mission to land on the moon, which came true on 20 July 1969. There have been 6 manned U.S landings from 1962 to 1972.
According to the astronauts who got the chance to whiff the lunar dust, the moon smells like gunpowder. They had not only smelt the moon dust but felt and tasted it as well. After returning to the space cabin from their moonwalk astronauts noticed lunar dust on their suits which smelled like spent gunpowder.
Moondust was smooth as snow but at the same time so abrasive and gummy that it wore through the spacesuits making it impossible to remove it. Apollo 17 astronaut Jack Schmitt suffered from extraterrestrial hay fever because he developed a reaction to the lunar dust which also resulted in a swollen nasal cavity.
Moondust is formed when meteoroids crash on the surface of the moon. Moondust was composed of fine particles of magnesium, iron, calcium and silicon dioxide whereas gunpowder was a mixture of nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose.
But, the composition of Moondust was completely different and it became the new interest of the scientists but they couldn’t examine it. Moondust didn’t smell when brought back to Earth as it got contaminated on the way back to Earth because of its abrasiveness and it would break the seals of the containers in which the moondust was stored.
So it led to many fascinating theories by scientists. Director of the Planetary Geosciences Institute at the University of Tennessee, Scientist Larry Taylor believes that lunar dust derives its aroma from the broken bonds between atoms.
But the most believed theory is the one given by ISS astronaut Don Petit, who personally has never been on the moon. He said “Picture yourself in a desert on Earth, “What do you smell? Nothing, until it rains. The air is suddenly filled with sweet, peaty odours. The moon is like a 4-billion-year-old desert. It’s incredibly dry. When moon dust comes in contact with moist air in a lunar module, you get the ‘desert rain’ effect—and some lovely odours”.
On Earth, Moon Dust doesn’t smell at all, so you can imagine what the smell of the moon must have been like to those astronauts.
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